In its communication on the EaP, the European Commission, underlined that "ongoing reforms [in Eastern Partner countries] require stronger participation of civil society to enhance oversight of public services and strengthen public confidence in them."

The Commission proposed "to support the further development of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs)" and in particular, "to establish an Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum (CSF) to promote contacts among CSOs and facilitate their dialogue with public authorities."

To ensure transparency of the process leading to the establishment of the EaP Civil Society Forum, all interested parties were invited to provide their opinions via links on the web sites of EC/external relations and of the EC delegation in Partner countries.

It proposed a series of questions around four key areas:

1.      On the the contribution of CSF to the goals of the EaP

2.      On participation in the work of the CSF

3.      On the CSF structures and their links with the EaP multilateral track

4.      On the role of the EC in the process

The consultation process started at the end of March 2009 and was closed on April 25. Some 40 contributions were received, mainly from CSOs based in EaP but some came from several EU-based organisations.

The CSF was endorsed in May 2009 under the Prague Summit and a concept paper was written.

In June 2009, all interested parties were invited to submit their expressions of interest to participate in the first EaP Civil Society Forum. Over 200 CSOs attended in November 2009.